Archive for March 9th, 2014

From Jodie Meeks’ big day to the final result, this was definitely a surprise.

Meeks scored 24 of his career-high 42 points in the second half, and the Los Angeles Lakers beat Oklahoma City 114-110 on Sunday despite a triple-double by Thunder star Kevin Durant.

Pau Gasol added 20 points and 11 rebounds for the injury-ravaged Lakers, who had lost 29 of their previous 37 games. Meeks was 11 of 18 from the field and 14 for 14 at the line while becoming the third player to reach the 30-point mark this season for last-place Los Angeles (22-42).

“The most important thing is that we keep going out there and fighting and not giving up,” Meeks said. “The season isn’t going the way that we planned, but we still have 18 games left. So we’ll play them hard and see what happens.”

Meeks is averaging 19.2 points in 11 games since returning from a sprained right ankle. Before the injury, he was averaging 14.4.

– Associated Press

Raptors foward Patrick Patterson out with elbow injury

The Toronto Raptors announced today forward Patrick Patterson will be sidelined with a right ulnar collateral sprain. Patterson aggravated his elbow during Friday’s game versus Sacramento. He will be reevaluated in seven-to-10 days.

Patterson has averaged 9.7 points, 5.2 rebounds and 23.4 minutes since being acquired by the Raptors from Sacramento on December 9.

The Raptors face the Minnesota Timberwolves tonight at Target Center at 7 p.m. ET (Sportsnet ONE/Sportsnet 590 The FAN).

Here’s ESPN Los Angeles reporting on a key Clippers scorer:

Jamal Crawford still needs healing time

Clippers guard Jamal Crawford, who returned Saturday after a three-game absence, said he may have returned too soon and will miss at least Monday’s game against the Phoenix Suns as he recovers from a strained left calf.

Crawford played only 10 minutes in the first half of Saturday’s 109-108 win over the Atlanta Hawks but sat on the bench the entire second half as his left calf was heavily taped. He missed both of his shot attempts and finished with three points and one assist.

Here’s New York Newsday exploring the future of Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks:

The Knicks hope to re-sign Carmelo Anthony this summer. But if he were to leave all that extra money on the table to go to the Bulls or another team, it could be a blessing in disguise for the Knicks, according to a former NBA general manager.

“I really think if Carmelo left them, he may be doing them a favor,” said the ex-GM, who has no ties to the Knicks. “They probably don’t see it that way. But in the long run, it’s probably doing them a favor.”

The logic is that it would give the Knicks a chance to rebuild. They’ll have a boatload of cap space in the summer of 2015 — when Amar’e Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler and Andrea Bargnani are scheduled to come off the books and Rajon Rondo, Kevin Love and LaMarcus Aldridge could hit the open market — and a first-round draft pick.

The likely result would be another lean season in 2014-15, but the source — who has rebuilt teams before — thinks it could turn around quickly. “New York is the greatest city in the world and the Garden is the best place to play basketball,” he said. “Guys want to go to play in New York. It’s going to hurt for a little bit. But if you have cap space, it’s not going to be that hard to get a good player to come to New York.”

Mavs recall Gal Mekel from D-League

Mavs recall Gal Mekel from D-League

The Dallas Mavericks announced today that they have recalled rookie guard Gal Mekel from the Texas Legends of the NBA Development League.

Mekel (6-3, 202) is averaging 2.4 points, 2.1 assists and 9.6 minutes in 30 games (one start) for Dallas this season.

Mekel was assigned to the D-League on March 4. He appeared in three games for the Legends and averaged 9.3 points, 3.0 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 1.3 steals in 27.7 minutes.

Rockets re-assign Troy Daniels to D-League

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced that the team re-assigned guard Troy Daniels to Houston’s single-affiliation NBA D-League partner Rio Grande Valley.

Daniels (6-4, 204, Virginia Commonwealth), who was recalled by Houston on Mar. 2, scored the first five points (2-4 FG, 1-3 3FG) of his NBA career in 5:32 off the bench vs. Indiana (3/7/14). The D-League Gatorade Call-Up was signed by the Rockets on Feb. 21 and assigned back to the Vipers.

Overall this season, Daniels has averaged 22.8 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.98 assists in 36 games (25 starts) with Rio Grande Valley. At the time of his recall, Daniels led the D-League in 3-pointers made (190) and ranked tied for fourth in the league in scoring average (22.8). The Vipers co-leading scorer actually broke the NBA D-League record for 3-pointers made in a single season with his 153rd on Jan. 29 vs. Tulsa. He also tied the NBA D-League record for 3-point field goals made in a game with 10 treys on Jan. 4 at Idaho. The D-League rookie placed second in a sudden-death round of the 2014 Boost Mobile NBA D-League 3-Point Competition. He was also selected to play in the 2014 NBA D-League All-Star Game, where he scored 21 points for Team Prospects in a 145-142 win over All-Star Weekend in New Orleans.

The Miami HEAT announced today that guard DeAndre Liggins will join the Sioux Falls Skyforce for their NBA Development League game today against the Canton Charge. Following the game, he will re-join the HEAT in Miami for their contest against the Washington Wizards tomorrow night.

Liggins, who was signed to a second 10-day contract by the HEAT on March 8, has appeared in one game with Miami totaling two points and one rebound in 1:24 minutes while shooting 1-of-1 from the field in a, 124-107, win against Charlotte on March 3.

Liggins, a 2014 NBA Development League All-Star, has appeared in 35 games (34 starts) with the HEAT’s NBA D-League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, so far this season averaging 14.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 2.54 steals and 40.3 minutes while shooting 39.8 percent from the field.

Raptors recall Dwight Buycks from D-League

The Toronto Raptors announced Sunday rookie guard Dwight Buycks (BIKES) has been recalled from the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA Development League.

Buycks was reassigned to the Jam on March 5. He appeared in three games, totaling 61 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in 98 minutes. Buycks scored a game-high 28 points on 12-for-19 shooting from the field March 5 against the Texas Legends.

This was Buycks’ second stint in the NBA D-League this season. He is averaging 15.4 points, 2.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 28.8 minutes in eight games (two starts) with the Jam. He has scored in double figures six times.

Buycks has appeared in 13 games for the Raptors this season recording 41 points, 10 assists, 20 rebounds and six steals in 124 minutes. He posted a season-best 10 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals December 10 versus San Antonio.

No Paul Pierce retirement anytime soon

Here’s the New York Daily News reporting on veteran Brooklyn Nets forward Paul Pierce, who is up there in age but playing good basketball and has no retirement plans just yet:

No Paul Pierce retirement anytime soon

Pierce understands that his post-playing career belongs with the Celtics, which is why he brought up the idea of “working” for the organization while talking to the Boston media on Friday night.

But the 36-year-old — an unrestricted free agent in July — has made it pretty clear that he has no plans to retire after this season. However, he is taking a pounding as a power forward, including some pain in his right shoulder that briefly put him on the bench against the Celtics.

“It’s been a problem for me throughout the last few years,” Pierce said. “It’s weak right now, so whenever I get hit in that shoulder . . . just with the constant years of banging, especially now that I’m playing the 4. So it’s a quick stinger.”

The Nets need Pierce because he fuels their preferred style of play. If they want to catch the Raptors, they also need to hit their long shots and continue their trend of collecting steals.

Here’s the South Florida Sun Sentinel with insight on how the Miami Heat work to make themselves even better:

A day after getting away from basketball, the Miami Heat added a longer than usual film session to help get past the two-game losing streak.

On Saturday, the Heat’s practice lasted about 45 minutes longer than expected because of extended work in the video room. It was their chance to break down consecutive losses to the San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets.

“This isn’t AAU,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “You can’t just move on and go on to the next game. We have to review it and own it and get better at the things that we need to win on the road against good teams.”

It was the first session as such in a while this season. The Heat reviewed mistakes ranging from turnovers to ball movement to shot selection.

Everybody knows that LeBron James is an NBA great. But it’s always fun hearing top basketball minds describe LeBron in their own particular words. Here’s ESPN Chicago quoting Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau:

Tom Thibodeau has been around professional basketball for well more than two decades. He has a passion for the game and the intricacies that separate the good players from the great ones. He studies compulsively to try to make sure his Chicago Bulls team always has an advantage when it steps onto the floor. That’s why his praise of Miami Heat superstar LeBron James is so telling. When asked Saturday to compare James to another player he’s watched or coached against in years past, Thibodeau didn’t hesitate.

“Nobody,” Thibodeau said.

“Because you’re combining the speed, the power, the skills, the passing, the vision. I can’t recall anyone that I’ve coached against that’s like that. There’s nothing that he doesn’t do. He’s great with the ball, great without the ball, can post, can drive, can shoot, can really pass. If you overcommit to him he’s going to make you really pay. And he keeps getting better every year. So he’s an all-time great.”

Here’s the New York Daily News reporting on the Knicks, who if things go their way will eventually be led by the Zen Master, Phil Jackson:

phil jackson

When Phil Jackson is standing in front of a top-tier free agent, the Knicks want him to begin his recruiting pitch with an old Pat Riley trick; throw all of his rings on the table.

All 13, in fact.

An NBA source says that a big part of the Knicks’ thinking behind pursuing Jackson is to recruit free agents to New York, starting with re-signing Carmelo Anthony, who can opt out of his contract on July 1.

Nearly four years after the Knicks’ recruiting pitch to LeBron James came up woefully short, Garden chairman James Dolan is counting on Jackson to become the organization’s closer.

“Can’t talk about it,” Knicks president and GM Steve Mills, who hasn’t addressed the media since training camp, said as he walked past reporters before Saturday night’s game against the Cavaliers.

Here’s video of the Cleveland Cavaliers retiring the jersey of center Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who had a terrific NBA career:

Sixers losing streak now at 16 games

Here’s the Philadelphia Inquirer reporting on the Sixers, who are steadily mastering the art of losing basketball games:

The 76ers hadn’t won a game since Jan. 29 at Boston.

Saturday’s tilt against the struggling Utah Jazz provided their best opportunity to get back into the win column. Utah headed into the Wachovia Center losers of the first five games of their six-game road trip. In all, they had lost eight of 10 contests.

But instead of getting the much-needed victory, the Sixers were handed another reminder of their incompetence. This one was a 104-92 setback despite Tony Wroten’s career-high 30 points.

The Sixers (15-47) have set the franchise record for single-season consecutive home losses at 13. They have also lost 16 consecutive games home and away. That puts them four losses away from the franchise-record 20 straight defeats rung up by the infamous 1972-73 team.

Here’s the Miami Herald with insight on some beyond-the-norm LeBron and D-Wade activities:

Amid one of the Heat’s worst two-game stretches of the season, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James took some time to celebrate Saturday.

Following an intense practice session in suburban Chicago, James boarded a private jet bound for Cleveland and Zydrunas Ilgauskas’ jersey retirement ceremony. Wade said he had plans to attend his sister’s wedding. Throw in one less hour for the overnight time change and Sunday’s noon tipoff (local time) at United Center, and the Heat’s road-trip finale against the Chicago Bulls has all the makings for another sluggish start.

The Heat allowed 39 points in the first quarter of Tuesday’s loss to the Houston Rockets. On Thursday, the San Antonio Spurs scored 37 first-quarter points against the Heat. Poor defensive effort in the first quarters of those games was a point of emphasis by coach Erik Spoelstra.

The Knicks are showing life lately. Here’s the New York Post reporting on the team taking their third win in a row:

The Knicks have found a starting lineup, found a way not to panic in the fourth quarter and have found their way back into the playoff race.

With Carmelo Anthony thriving in the new Big 3 alignment, he reversed his trend of stinking out Cleveland, shaking off a bad first quarter to post 26 points as the Knicks topped the Cavaliers, 107-97 at Quicken Loans Arena for their third straight win.

Amar’e Stoudemire scored 17 points with 12 rebounds and three blocks as the new starting power forward and Tyson Chandler notched 15 points and 11 rebounds. The expensive trio combined for six blocks.

Yeah, it’s working as the Knicks had a chance to move within 3 ½ games of the eighth seed with collapsing Atlanta playing a late game at the Clippers.

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